Finding information and resources
online can be tedious and frustrating; there's a lot
more useless debris than valuable information out
there. These links are my way of separating
the wheat from the chaff. With the exception
of wildcrafters/growers/medicine makers, all herb
links lead to sites with educational content.
I know pretty much everybody linked to
here and feel real good about steering others their
Live in Michigan?
Links to good people and places here in Michigan
The best herbs sites online I know of, offering
excellent articles and resources for learning cool
and useful stuff.
Herbal Listserves and Forums
Online herbal email lists and herb
forums can be invaluable means of learning,
especially in areas not teeming with herbalists to
get varied perspectives from.
Some nice ones worthy of regular browsing...
Herbal conferences, festivals
an offsite calendar of events offered in the US &
Remarkably good online photos &
Wildcrafters, Growers, and
Links to the best sources
for obtaining the highest quality fresh & dried
herbs and herbal preparations, direct from the
people who grew, collected or created them.
This is one of the of the most valuable resources
I've put on this site.
A collection of folklore and
traditional stories about plants
Info on how to delve deeply into
dying the skin with henna...
Other sites I like and get a kick
out of linking to
Purely self indulgent. Some
of my favorite poems.
Live in Michigan?
The Great Lakes Herb Faire
The Great Lakes Herb Faire is simply awesome.
Held in Chelsea, Michigan (just west of Ann Arbor)
each September, we've hosted herbalists from around
the Great Lakes BioRegion in a weekend of sharing
and learning and reveling in nature. Please
Upland Hills Ecological Awareness Center
my favorite "lurking places"... I teach
day classes here every
couple months. A true treasure, we/they offer
programs covering a wide spectrum of holistic
topics, from herbs & holistic practices to
sustainable energy to Native American Ceremony.
If you live anywhere nearby, please check it out...
website to link to, but Gary Wanttaja has the best
selection of dried bulk herbs anywhere around, and
is probably one of the wisest plant people I know
of, possessed of admirable knowledge and a singular
sense of humor... I recollect once asking him what
Wahoo was for and he, totally deadpan, answered,
"It's for when you're depressed" (Wahoo!).
Nice. Nature's Products is located in Detroit
at 20020 Conant (minutes from I-75 & 8 Mile
Road); give him a ring at (313) 891-3900 for current
Jen Green, ND
Jen Green is a
specializing in women's health, pediatrics and
cancer care. I met her ages ago at a Holistic Mom's pot
luck, where we started talking 'bout our practices
over a bowl of burdock and have more or less kept up
the conversation since then... Jen is kick ass, and
I jive with her clinical sensibilities enough to
feel completely confident referring clients (or any
of you all) to her. She's a real Canadian,
too, as evidenced by her saying "herb" with a soft
"h" (this is a dead giveaway for brits, aussies, and
After a stint
as director at Upland Hills Ecological Awareness
Center, Troy Farwell opened Simple Organics in
Oxford and I can honestly say it's one of the best
stocked health stores you could hope for. Troy
Herbalist & Alchemist,
Urban Moonshine and
other impeccable brands, as well as an increasing
selection of bulk herbs. His shop also offers
services including health consults, bodywork, and
for those interested in a multifaceted Holistic
Health Practitioner course,
Om Wellness Institute,
of which I'm proud to be a guest instructor.
Do tell them I send my regards when you visit.
Bronwen Wildflower Gates
Bronwen is one
of my favorite plant people round these parts, and
I'd highly recommend taking a class, enrolling in
her herbwyfe program, or listening to a story with
her... she's delightful to spend time with and
speaks so beautifully... She works with herbs,
flower essences and other energetic modalities.
Moonlight Mile Herb Farm
friend Susan Burek's fledgling herb farm, offering
certified organic herbs and all manner of feathered
things to boot.
Yule Love It Lavender Farm
Underwood's small organic farm offers several
varieties of lavender, in bundles or "you pick".
The first time I was out there and stood in front of
the gardens on a hot summer day with the breeze
blowing towards me I gained an entirely new
appreciation for lavender the the EO just can't
Oikos Tree Crops
Oikos not only
provides fruit and nut trees, but oodles of useful
plants native or hardy to Michigan. Their
offerings are drool worthy.
Located near Ann Arbor,
they offer organically grown medicinal and culinary
Herbal Alliance of Northern
Herbalists working together here in and around the
Traverse City area; I've taught for them on a few
New Moon Midwifery
If you live
anywhere near Ann Arbor, and are looking for a
midwife to guide you through a homebirth, I couldn't
possibly Amanda, Jamie, Anna & New Moon enough... beautiful
people, doing beautiful work. We've got three
wonderful ones to prove it.
The Fix Chiropractic Group
As the revered Dr. Adrian
Gaviglio moves into retirement (probably spending
more time out in the wilderlands), Waterford Life
Chiropractic has transitioned into The Fix
Chiropractic Group, headed up by Dr. Eric Duncan...
they're still one of the only places offering
Grostic Technique chiropractic (in addition to other
methods); check it out!
I met Caryn at
an herb conference in Traverse City ages ago, and kept in
touch with her since; turns out we know more than a
few of the same people and I had been using her
"whole baby salve" on my little boy's... well, I'd
best not embarrass him. She offers doula
services, knows how to make hammocks, dyes with
plants, and weaves other stuff, too. Nice,
nice diction, on that site... Caryn's home, in
the Ann Arbor area, is a United Plant Savers
Far East Ginseng Herbs and Tea
Ginseng is a Chinese herb store on the northeast
corner of 14 Mile and Dequindre (is that Warren or
Sterling Heights?). They've got lots of
Chinese herbs available, but if you're gonna go in
looking for something in particular, you'd best know
at least the Latin and ideally the Chinese name for
it. If you're looking for raspberry leaves or
burdock root, you're better off going to Nature's
Products, but if you suddenly discover you're on your
last zi wan root, this is probably the place
to go. The "shopping" part of the website, by
the way, in no way represents what they have in the
way of bulk herbs or what the store is like.
It's worth a visit.
Deanne Bednar's Strawbale Studio
Deanne Bednar is a dear
friend and wowie-zowie, what a cool, cool things she
creates. If you live within driving
distance, you've simply got to check this out...
it's literally like walking into a fairytale
cottage. Plus, you'll get to spend some time
hanging out with Deanne, which will leave you
wondering whether she just isn't the fairy in the
fairytale... Deanne teaches about all sorts of
natural building techniques, from making cob to
waddle & dob to thatching roofs.
is dedicated to encouraging people to get out into
the parks here in Southeast Michigan and enjoying
their bounty. They're organizing hiking groups
and have published a map book of many of our local
state and metroparks, complete with trails and
indications of habitat...isn't that cool?
Certainly well worth having methinks...
Henriette's Herbal Homepage
Probably the best herb
site online. Has most of the stuff on Moore's
site (plus Cook's & King's Dispensatory's) but is
fully searchable and excellent for cross
referencing. You should also check out the
Henriette runs, if you're a complete herb-nerd who
likes your inbox to be filled with emails titled
"diverticulitis" and "herbs for an infected toe".
And, our ever prolific Henriette's got a pretty damn
blog, to boot.
Henriette has made more unstateably valuable
information available online (and free, no
less...) for our collective benefit than probably
anyone else in the world.
Southwest School of Botanical Medicine
Michael Moore's site.
Go out and get 30 or so ink cartridges, a hundred
and seventy reams of paper, and put that printer to
the test. All the eclectic books you'd like to
have, but are either out of print or too expensive.
Herbalists everywhere own Michael a debt of
gratitude for the immense amount of work he's put
into making such valuable information accessible...
though Michael has passed, the info on this site and
the wisdom he amassed is still being offered and
taught by Donna Chesner.
Matthew Wood is simply an incredible herbalist.
His Book of Herbal Wisdom was truly a
powerful catalyst (or maybe catapult?) in my
adventures in learning about herbcraft, and both
inspired new understanding and reaffirmed much of
what I'd come to sense about working with herbs.
He's a remarkably good writer, and has found a
beautiful blend of herbalism, homeopathy, flower
essences, alchemy and indigenous herbcraft.
His site, entirely revamped in late 07, is now
filled with some
really wonderful treasures.
Columbines School of Botanical
Howie Brounstein &
Steven Yeager offer a two year herbal studies course
based in Eugene, Oregon, which in 2010 I had the
great honor of sitting in (and occasionally butting
in) on. Their approach of stressing the
importance of learning the fundamentals of herbalism
(the properties and actions of plants) totally jives
with my sensibilities. Plus, more entertaining
classes you'll be hard pressed to find. Howie
shares some of his writings here, including the
smoking mixture booklet
that was one of the first things I ever found on the
internet. Remember: astringents add body to a
smoke mix. See the way it all goes back to
Larken is one of the three teachers facilitating the
Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism and she's a
shining example of the word "integrative". She
possesses a keen scientific knowledge that only
enhances a very down to earth, practical wisdom,
rooted in traditional herbalism. And she's a
spectacular teacher... I hold a tent up with
my bare hands to listen to her teach...
Paul Bergner's Medical Herbalism
Paul edits Medical
Herbalism, an journal for practicing herbalists, and
has blessed us with some great links and, even
better, a smattering of
articles from Medical
Herbalism... check out the stuff written by
indeed. Paul founded the
North American Institute of
I love Kiva's stuff because I just
really jive with where she's coming from; the posts
are down to earth and get to the foundational core
of grassroots traditional western herbalism.
She's a splendid writer (which is nice) and has a
great knack for being able to explain concepts that
could be difficult in a very assessable manner.
Kiva and her partner Wolf also host the
Herbfolk Gathering in the southwest,
and compile the flat out awesome
Plant Healer Magazine,
which if you don't get you should. It really
is as good as anything you'll read this year.
Rosemary is just
really cool. I couldn't state emphatically
enough that if you have the opportunity to see her
somewhere, you should take it, and if you don't see
a readily-had opportunity, you should do your best
to find one. I don't think you could spend a
day with her and not be left vigorously inspired by
Rosemary is a walking example of
the good a green consciousness will do you.
You might ask to hear her story about the woman, the
"dying cat", and the valerian...
Rosalee de la Foret
In addition to having a poetically beautiful name,
Rosalee offers us a very nice blog, replete with
assessable and comprehensive entries that merit
regular visitation (this being
a good example). Rosalee also offers an immense
quantity of info at herbmentor.com,
including a number of "e-books" and video
presentations. The site for
her practice also
contains some excellent articles.
David LaLuzerne's HerbTV
Dave LaLuzerne is an
herbalist in Madison, WI who has made a slew of
really darned cool DVDs of herbalists from around
the country. As several of these people don't
have books or much in the way written material out,
the videos serve as a valuable addition to our
collective herbal repertoire, as well as offering a
different format for learning. And there's
just something really cool about seeing these people
sharing their knowledge... the style in which they
teach about herbs is as diverse as all the ways you
can practice using herbs. David has numerous
excerpts for viewing
here (oh, and I
Herb Walk in Michigan").
David Hoffmann is an
excellent herbalist, and has written some of the
most accessable information available to beginning
and intermediate herbalists. His Holistic
Herbal ("New" or "Illustrated") is a must have book.
This new link connects you to dozens of articles,
grouped by topic, so you don't have to navigate the
treacherous and peril laden healthy.net site.
Karyn Sanders is an incredible voice in the herbal
world... I say voice both figuratively and
literally, as she hosts a radio show in California
Herbal Highway, which
you can listen to when your eyes say "no" to reading
and a trip out into the wild isn't practical.
I can't say how impressed I am with the perspective
and wisdom she offers... I've had the opportunity to
sit in on classes of hers at the MidAmerica Herbal
Symposium and can say that they are among the best
I've ever been in. Karyn's background is
deeply rooted in Native American traditions, which
she blends artfully with some western herbalism and
decades of clinical experience. Having her
shows available to listen to online is truly a
blessing, and one not to be passed up.
David Winston's site has some excellent
written, as well as .pdf files of interest to those
of us herb nerds who dig on vintage nineteenth
century eclectic and physiomedical herbalism.
David's class "Talking Leaves" is among the best
I've ever been in.
Wise Woman Healing Ways
Robin Rose Bennett offers classes,
walks and apprenticeships in the New York/New Jersey
area, and possesses the admirable virtue of being
"insightful". I got to know her via
and in crossing paths at the International Herb
Symposium and I really admire her ability to see
beyond "this herb for that" and recognize the
patterns and energies that give one a greater
perspective on what's really at play in a given
situation. Her site has some thoughtful
presentations available for
7Song runs the Northeast School of
Botanical Medicine in Ithaca, NY, and his site
includes a number of
articles and an
his pictures are really good, owing, no
doubt, to his inclination towards botanical
meticulosity. 7Song also has a nice sense of
wit, which peeps out of his writings like the proper
use of spices (nonwitty, or "objective" writing is
like bland food). 7Song's commitment towards
earthy, pragmatic grassroots herbalism is highly
CommonWealth Center for Herbal Medicine
Primarily run by Katja Swift and Ryn Midura (with
adjunctive teachers to broaden things out),
CommonWealth offers open classes, intensive programs
and consults in and around Boston, and classes for
children (how-oh-so-cool-is-that?). I totally jive
with their perspective, and they have some nice
articles to peruse
here. Ryn's use of brackets (something not in my
punctuation heavy repertoire) is particularly worthy
of taking in.
Susun is probably one of the most
well known herbalists in the world, renown as a
herald of the wise woman tradition, for her
encyclopedic knowledge of herbalism and oftimes
iconoclastic insights about healing. Her site
is extensive, and offers a number of excellent
articles and an
active and lively
discussion forum in
addition to information about her classes and
Stephen Harrod Buhner/Foundation
for Gaian Studies
Stephen Buhner has written some of the best herb books
I’ve read. His Secret Teaching of Plants,
Sacred Plant Medicine and Sacred and Herbal Healing
Beers may be among the most well written herb books
available. Here are some
written… I love, as well, that Stephen has offered
corrections to his
Pendell is the author of the incredible “Pharmako-“
trilogy, consisting of Pharmako/Poeia,
Pharmakodynamis and Phamako/Gnosis. These
books are explorations into the relationship between
people and “power plants”… not simply
"psychedelics", but all
the plants that affect our consciousness, from
Tobacco, Coffee & Marijuana to Tea, Absinthe and
Psilocybes. Pendell’s writing is astounding, a
blending together of botany, poetry, alchemy and
herbcraft. These are among my
favorite books, and while that’s not an endorsement
of the “poison path” they document, I feel they
offer a unique wisdom not to be found elsewhere.
L.A. Times interview
is an excellent introduction to this original voice
of plant lore. I'd consider these among my
favorite plant books ever written. Shame he
didn't write on Calamus...
Adam Seller's Pacific School of
Adam's site for
his school is quite valuable in that it has some
recipes, capped by
the phrase, "Never
trust an herbalist who's not a good cook."
He's also got
some very admirable info on
Horsetail and Ragweed...
not the usual stuff you always see under those
herbs. I'm charmed by a clever humor that
seems to permeate the writing...
Michael & Lesley Tierra
Herbs site hosts a slew of
articles covering a
diverse range of history, treatment protocols &
insights into various healing modalities. The
Tierra's are renown for the fusion of North American
botanicals and the Eastern structures of TCM &
Ayurveda, but western-oriented herbalists like
myself can happily lose themselves in gems like
What is eclecticism?
& also rare
books like Eli Jones's "Cancer,
It's Causes Symptoms and Treatment"
(which you can't read and not just come to the
conclusion that Jones was way cool).
There are also numerous options in the way of
educational opportunities offered.
Todd his among the
premier teachers of ayurvedic herbalism in north
america; his site requires (free) membership to
access the immense content therein.
A Modern Herbal Online
Grieve's classic, searchable. This is an
incredibly valuable resource, and one that's not
given as much credit as it deserves. Grieve
offers an immense variety of folk uses and folklore
not readily found elsewhere. I'll often print
out entries to take a highlighter to, since I
wouldn't dare deface a book with one.
I came across
Sam Thayer's book The Forager's Harvest while
teaching out in Duluth, and my utterly delightful
hosts gifted me with the copy I picked up every time
I sat down at their place (perhaps they thought I
wasn't going to put it down when I had to leave).
It's quite simply the absolute best book on edible
plants I've ever come across, with no close seconds.
Sam doesn't cover much in the way of medicinal uses,
but his writing clearly expresses the deep
connection and kinship he has with the plants that
he covers. While it is a regional book, I'd
still get it regardless of where you live, just to
see how good an edible plant book can be.
Seven thumbs up.
Drum's site is very cool, but there are certainly
some "interesting" ideas offered here and there that
might make you scratch your head (thinking
specifically about a notion offered in "Herbs for
Men's Health" about x and y chromosomes...).
Nonetheless, one of the reasons herbalism is so
interesting is because we're all such a bunch of
characters, (I've got plenty of oddball theories
myself, if you'd believe it...), and Ryan's site is
exceptional in that several of his articles offer
ideas to ponder you'll not readily find elsewhere...
that's always a treat.
Some of the
herbal entries from Maria Treben's Health from God's
Mairi Ross has
authored a delightful book on the oft maligned act
of smoking dried plants, and covers over 150 in the
process. The book is a real treat, with pages
like puffs on a pipe... lots of wisdoms to quietly
ponder. Really, one of the only books of its
United Plant Savers
Plant Savers is dedicated to protecting and
cultivating medicinal plants threatened by habitat
loss and commercial overharvest. As herbs like
Goldenseal, Black Cohosh, American Ginseng and Wild
Yam are becoming increasingly rare in the wild, UpS
works to both preserve and propagate them.
Their website lists their events calendar,
offers ways you can help preserve plants in your
area, and provides membership info (hint hint).
Listserves and Forums...
These are the herbal email listserves and forums I
know of and would recommend checking out.
There are undoubtedly more (Henriette has a list
here, and even that
probably leaves out lots). I haven't included
lists or forums focused on homeopathy, TCM or
ayurveda - I'm just not knowledgeable enough in
these areas to pick out the good ones. The
ones I have included here are all, I deem, very
nice. Like all things, though, each has its
own flavor and one list or forum may bug one person
and be the delight of another. The best way to
find out which are the good ones are to try them out
and decide for yourself.
I would also advise those with
addictive personalities to consider the impact of
numerous forums (and the myriad ways they can teach
you something new) on their time management and
productivity. The same considerations one
would keep in mind when dealing with heroine or
gambling should be remembered when one realizes that
they're in the midst of an herblist fit.
I'd also like to acknowledge and
(namelessly) thank some of the very skilled and
gifted herbalists who post on these open lists,
rather than avoiding them in favor of
"professional-only" lists. I find their
openness and willingness to share highly admirable,
and praise them for so freely giving of their time
Henriette Kress offers an excellent herbal listserve
replete with wise herbfolk who share insights
opinions and ideas on herbs and their use. The
list's archives are phenomenal; and an
incredible resource (though unfortunately not
searchable). Henriette's list is very well
moderated; which saves its members from spam, two
word replies that contain another 80 lines of
previous posts, and off-topic chit chat, but does
require members who want to post to learn the basics
(snipping unnecessary text from replies, not
replying "thanks!" to every individual email
recieved, and staying on the topic of herbs). For
this bit of effort, the wealth of knowledge it
offers is priceless... another reason to value this
herb maven who has made more information freely
accessible than perhaps anyone else online.
You can subscribe
The AHG Herbstudent List
The herbstudent list was begun and few years ago
and, like henriette's list, offers an immensity of
collective insight. There are less requirements for
people who want to post (editing previous replies in
posts isn't a requirement), and so in that way
perhaps a bit more accessable, but that also means
you will occasionally get the short reply with
paragraphs and paragraphs of previous posts before
it. something that'll make you see red if you're on
digest. A big bonus with this group is that members
can search the archives. Nice.
John, Kimberly and Rosalee at HerbMentor have put
together an exceptional resource for those looking
to learn about herbalism with more structure and
guidance than is offered by most (any?) other online
email lists and message boards. It is a
subscription service, and is replete with lengthy
audio and video lectures (including some by me),
comprehensive written resources, a message board and
other resources that make it an excellent resource
to people who learn in different ways (since you can
read, listen and watch the presentations).
While an inevitable question is "Why would I pay fro
something online when so much is free?", I'd posit a
few answers, one being that HerbMentor is very
reasonably priced, another being that I don't know
anyone who hasn't really liked it (most a lot) and
also that John Gallagher is a really super cool
fellow who's committed to providing real, grassroots
herbal wisdom in a very assessable way.
Susun Weed's Wisewoman Forum
The Wise Woman Forum is, like the herbwifery forum,
not "for women only", but its focus is rooted in the
wise woman tradition as laid out by Susun in her
books. If you're one of the folks who has been put
off by Susun's iconoclastic personality or behavior,
the forum doesn't really go there, and she herself
has little to do with it (I believe that its run by
her daughter Justine, who, if I were to make
assumptions about a person I haven't met just by
reading a smattering of her posts, seems to possess
a keen insight and sense of perspective that I find
both honest and honorable). Its a forum with a
flavor all of its own, and there are jewels to be
found there that are seen far lest often on other
lists. there's more space there for off topic (but
connected) posting. If I had one gripe with it, its
that there are too many separate forums; for
example, I have no idea why the herbal medicine
chest, herbal allies, and health and wellness
questions need to have separate boards... but maybe
that's just an issue for me, who has to wait longer
to get through these in (alas) the land of dial up
(You'll notice I've omitted the innumerable Facebook
groups I could include here. There are a
couple reasons for this. Initially, I don't
like the format and don't particpate in many of
these, and so can't offer any endorsements.
Also, I really don't find the format of Facebook to
be especially good for discussion groups.
Unlike email, it's not searchable, posts tend to be
briefer and less detailed, and there's just less
focus. Also, I have to say being added to
groups (all the freakin' time) without being asked
is irksome. So that's why they're not here...)
Really, there are more herb blogs than I can keep up
Rosalee de la Foret has an impressive
Herbal conferences, festivals & events...
I always pondered putting up a list of herbal
conferences and events, but it seemed like it'd be a
nightmare to keep up with, go out of date quickly,
and end up less than useful. But (yay!)
someone else has made a nice listing, so I can just
post a link to that... so here's a list of
herbal conferences, festival
and events in the US & Canada.
site has the best pictures of wildflowers I
know of… usually several per plant; showing the
flower, leaves, the whole plant and any significant
identifying characteristics. Plants are
not listed by common names, which will reinforce the
lesson that you can’t get around needing to
know the Latin names for plants.
*Dan Tenaglia, who ran this site, tragically died in
February of '07. His wife has kept it up and
running, in honor of his passion for plants, but
doing so requires effort and support. If you
value this site and wish to help support its
maintenance, you can make a donation to the
Foundation”: 1416 Victoria Avenue, Opelika, Alabama
Not picture heavy, but rather a
botanical key for Michigan with county level
distribution maps. The search by genus option
can help you look to see where to look for a given
species, or help to reverse ID a plant you've found
The Biota of North America
A super detailed plant distribution
MSU Turf Weeds
Is it growing in your lawn?
Check out the MSU Turf Weeds site, which has some
nice pics of common lawn weeds...
Virginia Tech's Dendrology Site
ID a tree by leaf or
needle(s)... one of the easier to use identification
sites with good photos...
Hey... those aren't Nettle...
False Nettle (Boehmeria
Clearweed (Pilea pumila)
Are they medicinal? All I've
ever found is that the the Cherokee "rubbed the
stems (of Clearweed) between the toes to alleviate
itch, and gave the tea to curb the appetite"
(from James Duke's Northeast Indian Medicinal
There's very good
mushroom identification information available at
if you're interested in our fungal friends,
that might be one of the best resources online.
In addition to excellent pics and descriptions of a
lot of species (listed in the box in the top right
corner of the page), there's info on easily
identified edibles, deadly poisonous species,
primers of morel & boletus gatherers, and technical
info to help with understanding mushroom field
guides, taxonomy, spore microscopy, etc etc; on &
Hen of the Woods/Maitake
...mushrooms do not get
better than this
Chicken of the Woods/Sulphur
A Few Very Poisonous Plants &
These are strong
enough to kill a person. Please, if you
wildcraft, take as much time to learn how to
identify your local poisonous plants as you take to
learn to identify the medicinal ones.
I survived the Destroying
"No one with a
reasonable understanding of the importance of
properly identifying mushrooms – with a serious
awareness that some species are fatally toxic –
falls victim to the Destroying Angel*. The folks who
eat Destroying Angel* do not use field guides: they
just pick the damned things and eat them. No trip to
the library. No reading. No spore prints. No idea
what a “partial veil” is or what “gill attachment”
Deadly Lawn Galerina
↑ a poisonous polypore
you've probably heard there are none.
Wildcrafters, Growers, and Medicine Makers…
I feel very strongly about the
responsibility we take in using herbal medicines.
In doing so, we not only take become responsible for
our own well being, but we also take on the
responsibility of the plants we use to nourish our
bodies and souls. Ideally, we can honor this
by respectfully gathering or growing the medicines
we use. Sometimes, though, practicality (be it
of time, convenience or whatever) insists we
purchase our herbs. If this is the case, we
must understand that when we buy an herb or herbal
preparation, we assume the responsibility for how it
has been gathered and prepared.
If you’re buying drugstore brand herbs, or
even herbs produced by supplements companies, you’re
most likely financing environmentally destructive
practices. Most convenience stores and
supermarkets carry wildcrafted Goldenseal
preparations, which people buy under the misguided
understanding that it’s a "natural antibiotic" (it
is not). It may be ages old and nearly
inert, to boot. The money that this
consumption earns encourages plants and nature to be
seen as a commodity, something to bring in a profit.
Again, if you buy these preparations, you’re paying
to support and reinforce this view. I suspect
most of us don’t intend to do that… wouldn’t you
rather your money go directly to an individual
herbalist and their family rather than support a
huge profit-oriented corporation?
I’ve made it a top priority that if I
can’t gather an herb myself, I do my damnedest to
get it directly from the person that did, or, if
that’s not possible, from a source that I know puts
as much emphasis on wildcrafting ethics and
integrity as I do. This effort ensures a
number of things: That the plants are being
gathered respectfully and sensitively, that the
ingredients you use to make your own preparations
are top quality, and that your money and support
goes to people who care passionately about the
plants they grow and collect. Our money is a
form of energy, and I think that supporting small
scale family growers, wildcrafters and medicine
makers is an excellent place to send that energy.
I take great pride in the fact that I know whose
hands unearthed the Black Cohosh I use, and whose
prayers were offered to the bitterroot I chew.
So here’s a list of people I rely on to
obtain the highest quality herbs and preparations
that can be had, who I know care as deeply about
these herbs as I do. I hope you all will find
this information useful, and support these plant
people as the herbs they collect support us.
Black Locust Gardens
SO awesome to
have a local herb farm! Herbalist
Alex Crowfoot and
farmer/tinkerer Ben Hicks are cultivating
a number of species of medicinal plants, from
nutritive staples like nettle and oats to medicinals
like black cohosh and boneset. As a herbalist,
Alex has a wealth of knowledge and understanding of
herbs and what quality herbs possess, and the plants
they offer shine with vitality. Supporting
this local resource will ensure it thrives and can
give back to us all.
Linden Tree Herbals
Ginny Denton makes
teas, tinctures, elixirs & balms, using mostly local
herbs and honey. Everything I've tried of hers
has been wondrous, but do check out all the
crabapple formulae because she's got that plant
just awesome. You'll also find some less
common dried herbs of superb quality.
Aspen Hill Farm
1878 Anderson Road / Box 753 / Boyne
City, MI 49712 / (231) 582-6790
Steve Edwards grows organic American
Ginseng, Goldenseal, Black Cohosh, Blue Cohosh,
Bloodroot, and other at risk medicinals. I’ve
purchased both dried and fresh Goldenseal roots from
him, and was incredibly impressed by their
quality and vitality; not to mention how well
they’ve worked for me since tincturing them… when I
run out, this is where I order
518 / Ishpeming, MI 49849
While you'll have to mail out for a catalog (yes, in
this day and age...), when you get it and see that
it's entirely hand written and illustrated, you'll
appreciate the care you can tell goes into what they
do. Wilderness Herbs offers a very nice
selection of oils, salves and tinctures (one of the
only places I know that offers a Pedicularis
canadense tincture), and what is especially cool,
herb kits and samplers that provide a combination of
extracts, oils, salves and powders.
Yule Love It Lavender Farm
Underwood's small organic farm offers several
varieties of lavender, in bundles or "you pick".
The first time I was out there and stood in
the gardens on a hot summer day with the breeze
blowing towards me I gained an entirely new
appreciation for lavender that the essential oil just can't
I’ve been ordering herbs
through Zack Woods for years upon years, and can’t
recommend them enough. They grow exceptional
Black Cohosh, which you can get shipped fresh out of
the ground to you, as well as many
other at risk and otherwise useful herbs. Both
Melanie and Jeff have been a pleasure to work with
every time I’ve ordered, and their commitment and
integrity shines through the herbs they offer us.
Matthias and Andrea Reisen's herb farm and education
center. They'll teach you about how to grow
the herbs, how to gather the herbs, and do so with
prayerful intent. Beautiful, beautiful herbs.
If you don't see something on their list, it's worth
asking about, sometimes they have or can get other
things you might be looking for.
Traci at Fellow Worker's
Farm is a wildcrafter and grower, and offers herbs by order, along with
assorted extracts, oils, potions and such. She has a
slew of herbs not so easily had, including many tree
medicines like alder (see Kiva's writings to gain a
deep appreciation for this), peach, aspen, mulberry
and probably whatever else grows nearby. Now, don't
ya love seeing things like mulberry on someone's
herb list? It says so much, about their connection
to the plants they live with, their curiosity about
them, and their desire to grow herbalism away from
over-reliance on the the top dozen best selling
herbs and towards sustainable, grassroots,
handcrafted medicine. Traci also hosts a blog
here. Contact her
directly for a list of what she's got.
Kathi offers a diverse array of teas, tinctures,
elixirs, lotions, oils, and other beguiling
botanicals; unique blends that tell you your getting
something put together with a sense of knowledge,
creativity and taste. Top off all that with
sound ecological responsibility; she writes of her
chaga chai: "I use Chaga from trees that are
destined for harvest in Northern Maine, otherwise I
would not be making this blend. Chaga is a very slow
growing mushroom and is becoming over harvested...
as Chaga becomes more and more popular (for good
reasons) it's important to keep in mind where and
how it's harvested... It's always best to learn from
someone that has a solid understanding on what to
harvest and how to harvest." That's what
we want to see in medicine makers.
Kate Gilday and Don Babineau have
created a line of flower essences made from native
North American trees, shrubs and herbs, as well as
tinctures, oils, salves, creams and, of special
merit, just awesome chaga mushrooms (a truly exquisite tea,
is…). They also host classes and Kate offers
apprenticeships. I first met Kate at the
International Herb Symposium years ago, and she was
every bit as cool as she comes across (and knows really good songs, too). Excellent
results with her essences, as well...
Avena Botanicals was
founded by Deb Soule, and many of the herbs are
grown there on their farm. Avena is among the
few sources of awesome solomon's seal I'm aware of,
and also makes an infused oil of it that rocks.
In addition to the obvious quality of the products
they offer, Avena's stuff just reeks of intention
and integrity. There's a really great
interview with Deb by Ann Armbrecht
also host classes and events.
Nancy and Michael Phillips farm offers excellent
quality herbs and preparations, and more than a few
articles on herbs and
organic apple cultivation. They wrote "The
Herbalist's Way" together and it is a
flat-out excellent must-have-r. You couldn't
capture what herbalism is about better than they
have; very affirming.
Michael is the green man of holistic orcharding.
Bitters. Really quite spectacular bitters.
I met Jovial at the AHG conference in Pennsylvania
in 2012 and got to taste these bitters I'd heard
such good things about, and was super impressed.
I love bitters, and I have a deep appreciation for
the craft of formulating bitters; sampling the many
different bitter blends people make makes me really
quite happy and appreciative of the literally
infinite possibilities out there. This is one
of the best I've had. They also make other
goodies worth slucking up.
They offer a number of organically grown medicinals,
and are one of the only places I've seen that offers
Solomon's Seal roots. Their codonopsis is
Long before I ever interacted with her, I heard about
Ananda; usually some variation of "have you ever
used Ananda's (_insert preparation here_)?" When I
finally did get to try some of Ananda's herbals, was
was indeed impressed. Quality herbs, well crafted
and creative. Ananda offers preparations and
collwoven together with a theme. She excels with
aromatics. While you're checking things out, do make
time to peruse her
writings and insights.
Ironbound Island Seaweeds
North Atlantic dulse, kelp, kombu, wakame, and nori
hand gathered in Maine.
Robin Suggs at Moonbranch
Botanicals offers wildcrafted and organically grown
herbs endemic to the eastern forests of Appalachia.
He's gone beyond simple organic cultivation, and is
replicating the natural habitat ecologies the plants
he grows would naturally exist in (in other words,
the plants that naturally prefer poor soil to grow
in aren't cultivated in rich, well composted
topsoil. One of the few places I know that
offers fresh or recent dried Wild Indigo, Solomon's
Seal and Stone Root.
Larry Harding grows exceptional Ginseng, organically
cultivating the plant in wild, unamended forest soil
so that it grows in potency as it competes with
other plants in the wild Appalachian soil. The
resultant roots are much stronger and medicinally
endowed than Ginseng given cushy, well composted and
manured garden soil (under a shade cloth) could
approximate. Harding's also offers organic
wild cultivated Goldenseal, Bloodroot, Black Cohosh
and other at risk herbs.
Mushroom Harvest offers
all the mushroom varieties we that herbalists crave,
and then some: Reishi, shiitakes, lion's mane,
chaga, turkey tails, and many others, as powders or
kits so you can grow your own. I met George at
the 8th International Herb Symposium and was blessed
to get some of his cordyceps... divine.
He's an awesome course to get mushrooms to amend
your bone broth.
Joe Hollis grows gazillions of herbs
and makes myriad herbal preparations to offer, with
lots of unusual medicinals and formulae. He’ll
custom harvest herbs for you, and has plants and
seeds for sale. He also offers apprenticeships
& classes… And, his site is beautiful and
makes me want to visit… check out the pictures… wow.
Founded by Paul Strauss, Equinox offers a small but
exceptional line of extracts and their damn good
"golden salve". Paul is also the steward of
the United Plant Savers Botanical Sanctuary in
Rutland Ohio, and damn, does that guy know the land
he walks on. His knowledge of the sanctuary is
astounding, and one shouldn't pass up an opportunity
to join him on a plant walk (just don't believe him
when he says you'll only be 45 minutes...).
Corey Pine Shane offers an exquisite line of really
high quality tincture and such. I've ordered
stuff from him a number of times when I was out of
something and wanted to get a ready made tincture
from an impeccable source. Corey Pine also
Blue Ridge School of Herbal
Medicine in Asheville, NC and offers
time I call to order something from him we always
get into a long, green conversation... he's a cool
One of my students turned me onto Rod Angeroth at
Loess Roots, passing along some extra goldenseal and
black cohosh to me. The roots looked and
smelled and felt and worked beautiful, and I
subsequently got some other things from Rod,
including some absolutely gorgeous american ginseng
root. Everything about Loess Roots rocks, and
it's I think the only place I know to get virginia
snakeroot. Purchasing roots from Rod, who's in
Nebraska, will get a lot of what are considered
eastern woodlands plants to people who live out west
than getting them from several states farther
eastwards. Highly recommended.
James Jungwirth and Kari
Rein offer hand harvested seaweeds and custom
wildcrafted herbs that grow in the Pacific
Northwest. They don’t stock bulk herbs and
such, but rather if there’s something you need that
grows out that way you can give them a call and
they’ll gather for you and ship it to you.
They also carry tinctures, salves and oils, and a
look through their catalog shows some really nice
stuff… one of the only places I know to get fresh
Cactus grandiflorus, or fresh Ragweed tincture if
you didn’t get around to harvesting your own..
I heard about Sean Croke through Sean Donahue as a
good source for poplar buds; a few months later I
can vouch for Understory being a great source of
herbs and Sean as being an easy and cool person to
get stuff from. He offers a nice selection of
bioregionally wildcrafted herbs, as well as
tinctures (in dropper bottles or bulk). His
blog entry on
early spring tree medicines
gives a nice taste of his relationship with the
herbs he gathers...
I met Nome McBride at
the Traditional Roots Conference in Portland in
2014; he offers wildcrafted and organically grow
bulk herbs of
exceptional quality... beautifully green and
vibrantly potent. He also makes salves and
oils and tinctures and potions of various sorts,
including a number of regional pacific northwestern
herbs not easily come by in other parts of the
Lexie and Chris grow and collect a multitude of herbs
from their farm and the wildlands of Washington
State, including not only many herbs native to that
habitat, but several other less commonly associated
with the Northwest. They offer contract
farming services, will produce tinctures, oils, or
other preparations to your specs, offer seeds of
virtually all the herbs they produce, and most
importantly the quality of herbs they offer shows
their commitment to both the plants and the people
You've got to love when you find a resource that
states of their offerings, "We grow or wildcraft all
of them personally".
Michael Pilarski offers a large array of botanicals
native to or naturalized in the Pacific Northwest
(along with a smattering of others here & there),
primarily to be collected from their gardens or wildcrafted
by order. This ensures you the highest
possible quality, and you get to know that the herbs
you receive were specifically gathered for you.
Michael offers large volumes of fresh herb
Ryan Drum's wildcrafting. Excellent quality
seaweeds (Bullwhip Kelp is divine) and herbs,
including some wonderful rarities like Indian Pipe (Monotropa
uniflora) which turns purple when you
tincture it (!).
This is a big organic farm in Oregon that grows and
stocks a wide range of high quality herbs; recently
they've been distributing a lot more plants from
various parts of the world, but their site clearly
lists sources and often says "our farm". You
can order fresh herbs here and they’ll ship them out
to you for extraction, or obtain dried herbs that
have been harvested that season.
Sajah and Whitney offer alchemically produced
spagyric tinctures and essences. These are
an entirely different type of preparation than herbal tinctures, and generally taken in drop doses.
I'm currently (at the time of this writing) totally
digging on their hawthorne essence...
Ginger Webb offers a number of tinctures and teas
made from both bioregional and commonly used herbs,
and her stuff rocks. She's a great source for
midwives looking for cotton root bark tincture, as
well as those looking for a source of traditional
southwest & mexican herbs seldom seen available
elsewhere. Ginger also does consults...
King's Road Apothecary
offerings are not only local, they're temporal.
While staples such as her busted joint ointment are
everpresent for those in need, her shop offers a
rotating selection of whatever she's currently
enthralled with, always crafted with balance and
flavor. Maybe, when you visit, you can pick up
lavender sage bitters, or perhaps this time the
bitters are based on cocoa with burnt caramel.
Whatever may be, her stuff will leave you not just
happy, but inspired to play with your own
preparations. Check out her
blog for recipes
and meandering musings...
Richard McDonald (no direct relation)
offers handcrafted tinctures, salves, oils and bulk
herbs made from southwestern medicinals. He
wild cultivates the Osha he
collects, and I highly recommend him as a
source for Osha tincture. He’s also got cool
and hard to find stuff like Desert Anemone (which
needs to be extracted fresh), Yerba Mansa and
Richard's also working on a near-manifesto on his
experience using herbs to treat
diabetes, which is
worth checking out, and an increasing number of
Prosser offers a nice selection of organic
and wildcrafted bulk herbs, and has some real
treasures offered as tinctures, like peach leaf,
skunk cabbage and sweetfern. Jen also offers consults &
I met Theresa Finkbeiner
while teaching down in Ocean Springs, Mississippi;
she rather saved a ravenously hungry me with some
fresh crawfish. We swapped some Kava tincture,
gabbed about plants and in her photo album I saw the
most insanely tall joe pye weed... it must've been
ten feet? Perhaps more? Theresa makes tinctures,
oils, offers herbal birthing goodies and teaches
throughout the southeast. If you cross paths with
her, do ask to see that joe pye picture...
(Nuka Hiva is temporarily dormant)
John Fowler grows several varieties of
organic Kava Kava on the big island of Hawaii.
This is especially nice, since you can order a
specific Kava Kava by name, rather than get a great
batch of Kava that you love with one order, and then
an entirely different type with your next order.
You can even get fresh roots, chew them up yourself,
spit ‘em out, add water and enjoy with friends and
family… mmmmmmmm (I’m sure your friends and family
will feel the same).
Tana Datta offers fresh and dried Kava and other
medicinals and will ship to the mainland... I
haven't ordered from Tane, but have had his kava via
7Song, and it's excellent.
The Algonquin Tea Company
offers a number of unique and tasty teas formulated
with only plants growing in the Algonquin bioregion,
fern, myrica gale, labrador tea, mountain mint and
more... their formulas are unique and unlike any
you're likely to find elsewhere, infused with the
spirit of that land. Their sister site, The
Sacred Gardener, offers classes and workshops on herbs,
permaculture and traditional skills.
Someone online tuned me
onto this company; they're the only one listed here
where I haven't actually used their stuff, but a
look over their (well, actually "her") site at what
they had to offer showed them to be of immense
grassroots integrity. Amanda collects and
offers wildcrafted seaweeds (including the
exceptionally delicious bull kelp) off the coast of
Vancouver Island and a line of salves made from
regional herbs, including things like sword fern and
fireweed... not your average thrown together
formulas. She also offers consults, tours and
From all the heck over the place…
Mountain Rose Herbs is the place to
buy bulk dried herbs if you can’t get them directly
from the source, or you need stuff from all over the
place and shipping costs from each would cost more
than the herbs you're getting. They have all
kinds of other stuff, too… essential oils, tea
blends, tinctures, salves, stuff for pets, books,
bottles, and really good
organic teas. I should probably have up
one of those banner things that you can click on and
then I get some kind of kickback because you got to
their site through mine, but I'm idealistic.
Everyone here gets the same green font (with the
exception of Iris at Yule Love It Lavender Farm...).
They have great business
Seven Cups imports organic and fair trade teas (Camellia
directly from China, and offers a vast and varied
array of the best green, white, yellow, oolong and
black teas to be had. They personally select
the teas they sell, and can tell you where they were
grown, who grew them and exactly when they were
harvested. I don't think you can find such
reliability anywhere else, when it comes to Tea.
Too bad they don't supply Chinese medicinals, eh?
grows and cures absolutely exquisite organic
Tobacco. While much can be said to the offense
of Tobacco, it should be remembered that it is
considered the most sacred of plants by virtually
every native tribe in the western hemisphere.
Tobacco abuse has little to do with Tobacco itself,
but as the term implies, our abuse of
Tobacco. For those of us who can truly treat
this plant teacher as a sacrament, with all the
reverence that it deserves, Sun offers Tobacco
that shines with the respect and integrity with
which they prepare it. If you use
Tobacco, and understand it as powerful Prayer
Medicine, doesn't it make sense to get it directly
from someone growing it with this intention?
Oils and Butters and Such…
Organic Creations is a supplier for soap makers, and
has a lot of nice organic fixed oils at good prices.
A good place to get coconut oil, cocoa butter,
jojoba oil and other things that are just too
expensive when purchased in 8-16 ounce sizes.
Seeds & Plants...
Based in Ohio, Companion Plants offers
a diverse (and just really cool) array of
medicinal herbs and
seeds, including a
number of less common ethnobotanicals. I've
purchased plants from them a number of times, and
The Cech family offers one of the
widest selection of medicinal herb seeds available,
and some good books on growing plants and making
stuff out of them… if you’re looking for seeds, this
is a good place to start.
Oikos Tree Crops
Oikos's catalog is a total droolfest. Focused
on low maintenance food plants, it highlights
resilient fruit and nut trees and an nice assortment
of berries. They also offer plant starts of
interest to herbalists like
Perhaps the biggest consideration when deciding what
to get is how much space you actually have to row
everything you want to order...
...I’ve only listed
sources that I’ve personally worked with… but there
are numerous growers and collectors that share our
If you join
United Plant Savers
(and why wouldn't you?) they'll send you a great
plant and bulk herb directory.
I encourage you to talk with the people and ask
questions about them, the herbs they collect and
their philosophy… they should all be able to tell
you the fine details about the plant… specifically
when they collected it and where it came from, or if
it was grown whether its organic.
Myth & Lore...
the green man and the green
the origins of disease an
medicine ~ cherokee
how blossoms came to the heather
the oak tree and the reeds
the marsh king's daughter
little elder tree mother
the elf of the rose
the nettle spinner
hummingbird brings back tobacco
the origin of strawberries ~
the legend of the trailing
arbutus ~ iroquois
the legend of the violet ~
the meadow dandelion ~ chippewa
why wild roses have thorns
how maple sugar came ~ salteaux
the star and the water lilies
the birth of wek-wek
(elderberry) ~ hool-poom'-ne
Goddess is Alive in Every
If the idea of
drawing leaves and vines all over yourself seems
like something you could get lost in, these sites
will open up a whole new realm
of plant-based fanaticism...
This site has extensive free info (in
nicely printable .pdf files) elaborating
on all you need to know to start making and using
henna to doodle on yourself and others, numerous
designs and links to sources for high quality henna.
site index reveals
the wealth of info there, and useful since this site
is kind of a pain to navigate
ever cross paths with me, I'll likely have one of
Rob Yard's flutes in hand. These are the best
bamboo flutes you can come by.
creates audio stories that blend exciting stories,
natural wisdom, insightful views of society, and bad
puns... an excellent combination. Check out
Jack Flanders in
The Fourth Tower of Inverness,
or, if you like sci-fi,
The Adventures of Ruby.
This American Life
One of my all
time favorite public radio shows, offering all of
their past episodes for online enjoyment; episodes
range from clear headed journalism to emotionally
moving to quirky hilarious. Ira Glass probably
constitutes a personal hero. If you're reading
this, be sure to listen to
this (part 2)...
listening. I think everyone should be required
to listen to some of these episodes;
this being an
Leah & Chloe
totally rock. I've had the good fortune of
hearing their sing & play once or twice a year at
herb conferences, which I hope is a phenomenon that
extends into decades. Just awesome, cool,
sweet voices and souls. Listen to
I've enjoyed Owain's music since I
first walked past his stage at the Michigan
Renaissance Festival, and like many, miss hearing
his singing as I approach the jewel stage. He
performed period music from
several countries and sung in several languages; but
all of it is universally beautiful. Owain's
singing is excellent, and best of all, this
recordings are excellent too...
Beauty Moves and Wit Delights
is a great place to start... his version of "in a
garden so green" is unbelievably beautiful.
This is especially
Chris made my oak leaf belt pouch.
Her leatherwork reeks of goodness & beauty. I
love my pouch.
Probably the most beautiful
metalwork I've ever seen; clearly elfwrought.
If anyone really really likes what I do and offer, and
wants to gift me with something I'd totally love but
probably won't ever be able to buy for myself, a
gift certificate for something from these guys
would make my day... I mean,
Andy Goldsworthy's art is
incredible. This guy is a true wildcrafter;
making medicine to be imbibed by the eyes...
Sacred Text Archive
of myriad spiritual traditions and paths.
Words are just as much medicine as
plants; here are some poems
I so deeply resonate with...
was a friend of mine, if only briefly and seen on
far too rare an occasion to say we were good
friends... though nonetheless we were. It was
one of those instances where you meet someone and
it's as if you just hadn't seen them in a long
while... she was a kindred spirit. Maureen
wrote this poem when her father died, though no one
seemed to know she wrote poetry till after her
rather sudden and untimely death on July 19th, 2002.
If you like the poem and wish to thank her in some
way for it, simply take in a stray cat. You'll
earn a blessing from her for sure...